Two of the College's Land Economy students, Esther Heininge and Kamilla Marosi, took part in the UBC Sauder International Real Estate Case Competition in Vancouver, 11-12 November 2019. Below, Esther shares her experiences of the competition and the trip as a whole.
What was the aim of your trip to Canada?
We left Cambridge on Saturday to fly to Vancouver for five days to compete in the UBC Sauder Real Estate Case Competition. On Monday, there was a reception where we got to meet members of the other teams and there was a draw to decide which teams we should meet in the initial round. We did not know which universities the teams were from, but we were up against a seeded team i.e. a team that had won first or second place within the past five years. Thursday was competition day.
Can you tell us more about the competition?
We were given a case study containing the details of a potential real estate transaction in Seattle. It was a plot of land zoned for residential development and the case provided for two overall options to either develop condos or multi-family housing. We analysed the market on macro and sub-market levels and I developed a financial model to estimate the investment's return figures as well as sensitivity changes in inputs. We also analysed the risks surrounding the case and ultimately concluded that no risks were insurmountable, that the returns adjusted for the risks were attractive and that the asset should be acquired. The initial round consisted of a 15 minute presentation and a 20 minute Q&A by judges from the industry. As we won the initial round, we went on to the finals where it was a 15 minute presentation and a 15 minute Q&A. We competed against 16 other teams from all over the world.
What was the best thing about the trip?
I was very proud to be the team leader of the first ever Cambridge team to make it to the finals, and being told this by the judges was the best part of the trip.
What did you learn from the trip? How has it helped your studies?
The competition allowed us to get into the details of a real-life acquisition decision, which is hands-on experience that you are not usually exposed to at university.
What was the result of the competition?
We were among five teams who made it to the finals, where we placed fourth.
Is this the first time you've taken part in a competition like this?
I participated last year too but this was my first year as team leader. Having participated before helped us as it made it easier to know how to prepare well and distribute the work given the very short timeframe of the competition.
Who else was in your team?
Kamilla Marosi (Murray Edwards College), Sarthak Garella (St John's College), Jack Lam (Queens' College) and Christian Madla (Homerton College).